Burj Khalifa – Tallest Building In The World And Surrounding Area

It was Monday, first day of my training. Here I met my colleagues from Pakistan. Out of 18 people in the training, including our instructor, I am only the woman in the training. At first, it was surprising to me, and I just realized that all the other 16 attending the training, I am the only one from Manila and the rest of them are from Pakistan. After the training, I planned to meet my long time college friend at the hotel lobby and because of this I was not able to join my Pakistan mates that night. From the hotel, my friend and I walked to the nearest metro station (Sharaf DG station). I bought my NOL card (transportation card accepted in train, bus, and marine public transport) and then took the train going to Rashidiya. That was the first time I took train in Dubai, while on the train, I discovered and realized that it is true that there are lots of Filipinos in Dubai. Hearing people speaking my own language and looking at them, yes they are all Filipinos by words and by looks. I thought that I was riding MRT train in EDSA back home, but I am not, I am in Dubai, riding Dubai Metro train. After half an hour travel, we got off at Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall station. We walked for a while until we reached Dubai Mall.

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Dubai Mall Entrance from train station

We saw a lot in Dubai Mall. Dubai Mall is said to be the largest mall in the world in terms of total area. There are lots of signature and branded store you can find in this mall. After walking a while with my friend, I honestly told myself that I will easily get lost in this mall, too many stores, too many things to see and too many places to go. I definitely advised that people who will visit Dubai Mall required to get a map, but if you are adventurer, just enjoy being lost in the mall. Significant part of the mall that I found are: Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo and Dubai Waterfall.

Before seeing Dubai Aquarium, I am wondering how big it is and after I saw it, the aquarium is bigger than 3 or 4 shopping stores inside the mall. You can walk inside the tunnel where the top of it is part of the aquarium. Next, we saw is the Dubai Waterfall, wherein it seems that the water fall starts from the top of the mall down to the ground level. One thing that this waterfall is interesting are human divers sculptures found in the entirety of the waterfall. At first, I thought those sculptures are like people flying in the air but to think about it, since it’s a waterfall, I realized that the structure are people who are diving from the top of the waterfall.

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Dubai Aquarium

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Dubai Waterfall

My friend and I continue our walk while talking, then we found the food court and had our dinner. After dinner,  we went outside the mall to witness the famous dancing fountain at Dancing Fountain lake where Burj Khalifa is nearly located. Before the show, I enjoy observing Burj Khalifa tower, took a lot of photos and amazed how high the tower is. I am fascinated on the lightnings shining across the whole tower. Aside from the tower, another interesting building that I saw is the Souk Al Bahar just beside the Dubai mall. The show started and I watched it intently, though it’s a few minutes show, I still enjoyed it.

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Burj Khalifa (top)

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Burj Khalifa (ground)

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Dancing Fountain Lake

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Souk Al Bahar

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Second night in Dubai was over with satisfaction of seeing part of Dubai even in just few hours.

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Whistler – Warm Haven in Cold Paradise

Whistler becomes a buzz word while I was in Canada because the next Winter Olympics which will be happening in 2010 will be held in Whistler. I was so happy that I will be able to visit Whistler because I knew that I will not be around during the Olympic season. Before I even arrived in Vancouver, I had been planning my tour since I had only two full day weekends, two nights and half-day (just almost 5 days) to travel around British Columbia and I don’t want to waste my time just being at the hotel.

I was booked for Whistler Mountain and Forest Tour via Whistler Glacier Dome train last June 14, 2008. I booked the tour with Vancouver Landsea Tours and Adventures. Because the location of my hotel (Ramada Hotel) was in Burnaby, the tour company told me that they will not be able to pick me up from the hotel that I was staying. I was advised to go to Hyatt Regency hotel at Burrard Street. Therefore, I woke up early and went to the said hotel to join the group tour. After meeting my group, I was dropped off at the Whistler train station since my tour includes Whistler train.

Inside the Glacier Dome of Whister Mountauneer TrainInside the Glacier Dome of Whistler Mountaineer Train (quite blurred)

DSC04966 Lions Gate Bridge view from North Vancouver DistrictLions Gate Bridge (From North Vancouver District)

Vancouver View from West VancouverVancouver view from West Vancouver

Bowen Island view from West Vancouver Bowen Island view from West Vancouver

Whistler train station is in North Vancouver railway station, this was where the Whistler train left Vancouver. From the station, we passed  Lions Gate Bridge a suspension bridge that connects Vancouver to North Shore of North Vancouver and West Vancouver.

The train route follows the coastline of North Vancouver to West Vancouver near Marine Drive, then the rest of the tracks is almost parallel to Sea to Sky Highway. The trail seemed designed for a great train ride. The panoramic views along the Strait of Georgia, sceneries together with Bowen and Gambier Island from Lions Bay, Furry Creek and Squamish were really amazing.

Falls view from Moutaineer Train Falls view from Moutaineer TrainFalls view from Whistler trainDSC04990 View from Lions BaySome photos while on our way to Whistler (along Sea To Sky Highway)

DSC05013 Mountains near Squamish (on our way to Whistler) DSC05016Scenic view near in Squamish

Riding in a train like that seems like a cruise because the dome train I took was more luxurious than the other carriage of the Whistler train. The travel was comfortable and enjoyable. I admired everything that I saw all the way from Vancouver to Whistler.

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Almost at Whistler

Whistler Village

Finally, we arrived at Whistler Village. Because I booked Whistler tour via train, I was separated in my group tour on the way to Whistler, they came to Whistler via tourist bus. I met the whole group and the tourist guide again in the village. I remembered that our guide told us that while we’re in the village, we have free time to spend and try things that we like. The group agreed to come back at the meeting place in a specific time.

Whistler Mountaineer StationWhistler Train Station

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Some snapshots in Whistler Village

While in Whistler, I grabbed the opportunity to walk within the village. I was able to reach lake called Green Lake and found out that it was the Whistler airport station. Yes, it is the airport because it’s not the same like common airport we used to, it is an airport for a sea float plane, where small plane flies but lands in water either in harbor or lakes.

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Whistler Airport at Green Lake (and its surrounding area)

Since the area is being prepared for the upcoming Winter Olympics in 2010, there were constructions going on in different parts of the village, but the construction activities did not hinder the normal operations in the village and tourist keeps on coming.

Blackcomb Mountain

After walking for sometime around Whistler Village, I decided to ride gondolas to reach the mountain summit. I saw Blackcomb mountain booth. I bought the ticket and went on queue for gondola. The gondola that I saw in the area are open type gondola because it is the rides of people who does the skiing in the mountain during winter season and because the winter was over,  the same gondola brings tourist like me to reach the top of the mountain.

During my ascent to the summit of the Blackcomb mountain, I was able to see the panoramic views of mountains around the area. If I saw Rocky Mountains in Banff from the ground, I was overwhelmed because I witness different angle of mountains from the top. And because it was Spring season I saw some parts of the Blackcomb mountain that still have snow and iced which a leftover by Winter season. I was lucky that I was wearing winter jacket at that time because I experience the cold wind from the ground up to the summit. I spent some time at the peak of the mountain by taking photos, by just looking around 360 degrees and by appreciating all the things that my eyes reached. I never experienced a mountain like that before where it felt like the other surrounding mountains were so close to me. It seems they were all reachable and I could just grab them with my bare hands with the blink of an eye. I told myself how beautiful and great the place where I was standing.

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Panoramic Views at Blackcomb Mountain

I looked at my watch and decided to descend the mountain. I reached the ground of the mountain the same way that I reached the summit.

It was great to see a beautiful village surrounded by mountains. I was ecstatic and I never thought that a remote place like Whistler is a beautiful community covered by natures wonders. It was really a wonderful place for me. I really enjoyed my walk along the village and my rides in gondola. Discovering the place from the ground, from the sky and from summit made my experience memorable.

My group tour met together again. And in few minutes we left Whistler Village and we started driving back to Vancouver.